Maes Onnen, Rhuddlan, LL18 2YL
A church designed with great sensitivity and assurance by Bowen Dann Davies in the modernist vernacular style that the practice successfully developed in the 1970s in response to the landscape, townscape and climate of North Wales. It is low in outline, with spreading roofs and a complex plan which reflects the need for inbuilt flexibility. The interior is light and human-scaled with carefully positioned windows and natural materials used in a simple and almost domestic manner.
Mass was said in a rented former stable building in Rhuddlan for many years before it was decided to build a new church. This came about in 1975 after a long fundraising campaign started by the Bishop of Menevia in 1960. The brief given by the parish priest Fr Murphy to the architects Bowen Dann Davies was for a church and hall that could be used separately or together by drawing back a sliding screen, with space for a maximum of 250 worshippers. In addition to the worship space and hall, there was to be a sacristy, confessional, WCs and a small kitchen. It was also intended to have a bell chamber detached from the church, but this was later abandoned. Work started in October 1975, and the building was opened a year later at a cost of £48,000. On completion it received an RIBA Award for the quality of its design.
The church is a long low building, designed to be in scale with the surrounding houses built around the same time. It has white roughcast rendered walls painted white, and an asbestos cement slate roof. Long strips of dark-stained timber windows emphasise the horizontality of the building. Deeply overhanging eaves swoop low and afford protection to the windows. On the south side the roof rises high to form a glazed lantern that throws light down onto the sanctuary, then steps back three times to create a saw tooth pattern with roof lights at ridge level illuminating the hall and sacristy.
The white finish and the simple use of natural materials extends to the interior, which has a timber boarded ceiling and beams, and is designed to a human scale. The sanctuary and nave are carpeted in verdant green, while the aisle is floored in timber blocks. The font is shaped like an inverted ziggurat with a green plinth, natural timber bands and a black slate top. The altar also has a slate top and the tabernacle is decorated with symbols of the Eucharist. The benches and other furnishings are designed by the architect in a similarly individual style.
Architect: Bowen Dann Davies
Original Date: 1976
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed